A remarkable feature of equine pregnancy is the development of the invasive trophoblast of the chorionic girdle and its formation of the gonadotrophin-secreting endometrial cup cells in early gestation. The details of this process have been revealed only slowly over the past century, since the first description of the endometrial cups in 1912. This centennial presents an opportunity to review the characteristics of the cells and molecules involved in this early, critical phase of placentation in the mare. The invasiveness of the chorionic girdle trophoblast appears to represent an atavistic attribute more commonly associated with the hemochorial placentae of primates and rodents but not with the more recently derived epitheliochorial placentae of the odd-toed ungulates. The nature of and for the strong fetal signals transmitted to the mare by the endometrial cup reaction, and her responses to these messages, are the subject of the present review.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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